Diplomatic Standoff Between U.S. And Russia In Organisation For The Prohibition Of Chemical Weapons

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Diplomatic Standoff Between U.S. And Russia In Organisation For The Prohibition Of Chemical Weapons

© AP Photo/ Peter Dejong

Comment by the Information and Press Department regarding the results of the 56th Special Session of OPCW Executive Council (source):

A special session of the OPCW Executive Council on the Syrian chemical file ended in The Hague on November 24. After the United States proposed that such a session be held more than two weeks ago, the session has been suspended and resumed more than once by the US partners with no reason given. This nonstandard behaviour is contrary to the usual OPCW practice and can be explained by Washington’s intention to ensure the adoption of a harsh anti-Syria decision, which many Council members were unwilling to support.

The proposed decision said, citing the unsubstantiated conclusions of the seventh report of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (OPCW-UN JIM), declared that the Syrian Arab Republic released sarin as a chemical weapon on the town of Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017. Based on this allegation, those who made the decision concluded that the Damascus government had not declared all of its chemical weapons stockpiles and that the Syrian government must declare all of its remaining chemical stockpiles within 45 days following the adoption of the proposed decision.

This brings to mind an infamous precedent involving Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.

This US approach subsequently resulted in serious foreign policy outlays for Washington and major suffering for the Iraqi people.

Russia has always been firmly against the US proposal at the OPCW Executive Council, saying that the main provision of that proposal, which has placed the blame for the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun on Damascus, does not stand up to scrutiny. Russian experts provided facts to demonstrate the flaws of this conclusion at the interdepartmental briefing held at the Russian Foreign Ministry on November 2, 2017. It is notable that nobody has overturned these facts or even tried to do so since then. The United States and its allies have avoided an open professional discussion, pretending that these facts do not exist.

Ultimately, the United States had to withdraw its proposal. We would like to express our respect and gratitude to those states that have refused to support the US proposal and, by doing this, have demonstrated a high level of responsibility for taking substantiated and well-considered decisions at the OPCW.

The investigation of the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun is not over yet. The perpetrators will be identified sooner or later. Russia intends to continue to work towards this goal. At the same time, we will do our best to resist the politicisation of the OPCW and some countries’ attempts to use the Syria chemical file as a distasteful means of attaining pre-planned geopolitical goals.

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  • chris chuba

    So let me get this story straight. The U.S. wants the OPCW, which is an independent organization from the UN, to officially sanction the UN report but has not yet done so.

    • as

      OPCW is the UN arms in chemical weapon related events and funded as one of it’s bodies so their investigation supposedly represent the UN and should’ve been unbiased/unpolitical and professional.
      This ? Well i should say the people works there should throw away their license and all those academic awards and certificate. Apparently we can conduct a world class professional investigation through an Internet. What an age to be alive.

      • Graeme Rymill

        The OPCW isn’t part of the UN nor is it funded by the UN. See: https://www.opcw.org/special-sections/syria/collaboration-with-the-un/

        “Collaboration with the UN:
        Although not a United Nations (UN) organisation, the OPCW has a working relationship with the UN. For instance, if requested to do so by the UN Secretary-General, the OPCW has a mandate in accordance with paragraph 27 of Part XI of the Verification Annex of the Convention for closely cooperating with the UN, by placing its resources at the disposal of the Secretary General to conduct an investigation of alleged use of chemical weapons in a State not Party to the CWC.”

        The OPCW is funded by the “state parties”. In 2015 there were 192 state parties. Here is the current list: https://www.opcw.org/about-opcw/member-states/

        There are 41 members of the Executive Council of the OPCW. The list of countries can be seen here: https://www.opcw.org/about-opcw/executive-council/current-officers-and-members/

        A two thirds majority is required to successfully pass a vote on “matters of substance”. By my reckoning if 14 out of 41 vote no on a proposal it is rejected. The United States had a draft proposal. It couldn’t get the required two thirds majority so the proposal was with drawn without a vote being taken.

      • AMHants

        The Joint Investigation Mechanism is a seperately funded team in the OPCW, funded by 12 of the 193 UN members, and also a $4.6 million donation from the EU.

        Here are the 12 of the 193 UN members and the information was found in the press release that went with this article.

        France Germany Netherlands Israel New Zealand Sweden Switzerland UK US Saudi Arabia Canada Australia

        European Union donates €4.6 million to OPCW Special Missions and the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism Thursday, 03 March 2016
        OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet … https://www.opcw.org/news/article/european-union-donates-EUR23-million-for-opcw-special-missions-2/

    • Mikronos

      Not quite, they want the OPCW to base their report on the US/Al Nusra allegation and write it, independently, form there. The USA would then ‘shepherd’ the report toward UN sanctions.

      There’s a similar ‘American/NATO’ situation regarding another investigation into an air disaster over Eastern Ukraine.

  • AMHants

    OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism, is sponsored by 12 members out of 193 members of the UN, together with the $4.6 million donation, from the EU. France Germany Netherlands Israel New Zealand Sweden Switzerland UK US Saudi Arabia Canada Australia and the EU, they are all demanding the natural resources of Syria, so no agenda. Then you have the crowd that spun the WMD lies, with regards Iraq and Sadam, who are also involved with causing trouble in Syria. Remember, the 7 nations in 5 years? Remember, that Tony Blair, his private secretary at the time, Mathew Rycroft, and how he took the UK into Iraq and the lies they told to get us there? Mathrw Rycroft, who now finds himself the UK Permanent Envoy to the UN. All they need now is Colin Power to hold up his test tube, or will Niki Haley do that, for her paymasters?

    European Union donates €4.6 million to OPCW Special Missions and the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism Thursday, 03 March 2016
    OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet … https://www.opcw.org/news/article/european-union-donates-EUR23-million-for-opcw-special-missions-2/

  • Mikronos

    Don’t forget the on-going US demand that Iran,as part of its nuclear deprogramming obligations, admit that it was developing nuclear weapons. Another allegation the US believes, that also has little substantial, or verifiable evidence.